Aylesbury

About the prototype

The first station at Aylesbury was opened in 1863 by the Wycombe Railway, but was rebuilt several times over the years, as both the Metropolitan and Great Central Railways opened. The station in its present form dates from a 1926 rebuilding by the LNER. Although much reduced in importance since its heyday, it’s still a fairly busy station today, with frequent services to and from London Marylebone and the branch shuttle to Princes Risborough. Certain trains also continue north to Aylesbury Vale Parkway station, and there are several freights a week that operate to and from Calvert.

Research

There have been many books written about the Great Central Railway; however, no two appeared to have the same track plan in them! By consulting with photos and OS maps, a typical track plan was devised. To make the length of the layout more manageable, the Stoke Road over bridges at the east end of the station have been brought forward by approximately 300m to the end of the sidings. Other than this adjustment the layout is a true to scale replica of the complete station. The layout will be based in the late 1950s, but isn’t set in stone to allow a variety of stock to be used.

Construction

The total size of the layout is 7m x 1m, though as the boards are curved the footprint will be nearer 7m x 2m. The six baseboards have been made from 6mm plywood, and have been laser cut for improved accuracy and ease of assembly. With laser cutting, awkward shape boards can easily and quickly manufactured, though a certain amount of time has to be spent on a computer using CAD to come up with a satisfactory design. The legs will also act as a carrying frame, so the layout can be transported in three easily manageable sections. Aluminium strips have been added to the mating edges of the boards, and alignment dowels have been fitted, so perfect alignment every time the layout is assembled should be achievable.

The track will be Finetrax, the new finescale N gauge track manufactured by British Finescale. The rail is code 40 bullhead, rather than code 55 or code 80 flat bottom that Peco use. The points will all be individually made to fit the locations, but using Finetrax components.

The layout will be controlled by DCC, using Model Electronic Railway Group (MERG) components, and operated via either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth using smartphones. Servos will be used to operate the points and, one day, the signals.

Buildings and Structures

The main station buildings survive virtually unaltered, and various ways of making them are being looked at, including getting them 3D printed or laser cut. The top of the south box is in use at Swithland Sidings at the preserved Great Central Railway. Drawings are available for the loco shed, and a few other buildings and structures such as the footbridge at the end of the platforms.

Motive Power and Rolling Stock

The vast majority of the stock is available ready to run from Graham Farish or Dapol, and will be fitted with DG couplings for operation on the layout. Until 1958, the former GC was operated by the Eastern Region, so saw A3s, V2s and B1s on long distance services, and L1s on local trains to London. The London Midland Region then took over, and Black 5s and Royal Scots became the norm, with Standard 4 and Fairburn tanks on the local services. The Princes Risborough branch saw a variety of ex-GWR motive power, including 14xx, 57xx, 64xx and 61xx. A few locos and some of the coaching stock, such as Thompson coaches, will need to be assembled from kits or scratchbuilt.